The Way I See It: An independent perspective on the local news
With the RNC finished and the DNC underway, conventions and their effects are heating up.
Since the Republican National Committee (RNC) just held its national convention and members of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) will just be kicking off their convention the day before this column hits stands, I think this is a fine time to bring up the following point:
Here's the deal, folks. As a general rule, we, as a nation, "blanket" the party system. If someone within the RNC or the DNC does something idiotic (a.k.a., says something about a woman's reproductive system just shutting itself down), we blame the entire group. Sometimes not directly, but the name Akin immediately becomes synonymous with the term Republican, because, well, he is one. So, if the shoe fits… right?
Just because Congressman Todd Akin is a Republican does not mean all Republicans are bad. And I know this is just one situation of many. But I'm trying to make a point, so go with me for a moment.
Sadly, thanks in large part to the media, we often take all the negative feedback we hear about a candidate or official and immediately start to blame her or his respective party. Of course, there are a number of other things we can pin blame on as well. And I could waste your time as well as mine and break them all down for you, but what good would blaming others do? So, instead, what I'm going to do is just put the responsibility back in your hands.
Do you know why?
Because you have the power.
(Please take a moment and break into Snap's "I've Got the Power" song).
However, this is the truth. We all have the ability to change the perception of our system and learn about the candidates who want to get – and stay – in office. The truth is that there are many fine Republicans and Democrats out there doing great work. What many of us aren't doing is taking the time to find out which ones those are.
And then throw this wrench into the equation…
Did you know that Pennsylvania is only one of 17 states that allows a voter to vote a straight party ticket? One of 17. Out of 50 states in our nation. It's as if the legislation got together one day and said, "Look, PA voters are pretty lazy. We don't want them to be open to other party candidates. Let them stay in their little groups, give them one button to press, and call it a day." And the sad truth is, the majority of the voters take advantage of this. I know this because I've seen the numbers. Just check out the Erie County government website. It's all there.
Truth be told, I cannot think of one good reason why we still have this straight party ticket button. As "informed" citizens, who are desperate for independent views, why are we still voting straight party? I'm a Republican, folks, but I can tell you the names of many fine Democrats I'd like to see – and stay – in office. We need to start looking at them – square on, in the face – and find out what each one wants to do once they are in office, but also make sure they are actually doing what they should, and if not, vote them out.
Not all Republicans are tea-partiers and not all Democrats are raging liberals. I know you all know this because you are all much smarter than that. Actually, if you're even reading this publication at all, I know that you are all quite intelligent. In fact, many of you probably own several leather-bound books in a place that smells of rich mahogany.
This is your newest challenge… if you choose to accept it.
When many of you watch the DNC at its convention this week, I want you to keep an open mind. Not about what you're seeing right in front of you, but to those individuals many of you might have dismissed last week. I want you also to realize that President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney are not all we have out there. I urge you to learn about the candidates that are running in this election and party affiliation aside, try to put the one in office that will best represent us as a community overall. I want you to go in and vote for each candidate and whatever you do – do not press that one button "straight party button."
When it comes down to it, government can be a very simple process. It's called "checks and balances," and it's something we all learned back in high school. When the different branches cooperate, we'll start to realize that we can work together. And no party affiliation should ever stop that.
Love? Hate? Agree? Disagree? I want to hear from you. Email me at rStyn@ErieReader.com